Ten Reasons to Not Sleep on Nipsey Hussle

5. Nearly every big-name record exec in the industry has attempted to sign him. His resume is quite impressive, but he has chosen to walk the path less traveled and remain indie. In today's record industry young musicians don't seem to believe in ownership. He owns everything his name touches, and his campaign is all about eliminating the middleman. There's no high-powered major label backing his buzz. This is the evolved version of Too Short selling albums out the trunk, on a worldwide level.

4. He's a relic from the '90s. For me personally, he was the first new-school West Coast rapper to give me the same feel as vintage Ice Cube. We all know right now the freshest coast in hip-hop is the West; Nipsey was one of the leaders of the resurgence. There have been many attempts to reclaim the throne, but the ingredients didn't feel right. The fans want the golden-era feel of the '90s with the fresh appeal of today's music. In other words, all we ever wanted was new music that felt just as good as the old-school music. Nipsey delivers.

3. He's proud to defend his West Coast brethren at all costs. We all know the world was turned upside-down when Kendrick Lamar dropped his debut project Good Kid, MAAD City. More than a few rap critics heralded this as one of the most important and critically acclaimed bodies of music hip-hop had seen in a while. A former Badboy Records artist named Shyne (the guy who went to jail for the club shooting incident involving J.Lo and Diddy several years ago) released a statement via Twitter claiming the album sucked. Shyne made this a full-time campaign while Nipsey came to K. Dot's defense via Twitter by simply stating, "Somebody tell Shyne his West Coast pass is revoked." Nipsey had nothing to do with Shyne's beef with Kendrick, but he defended his fellow West Coast MC nonetheless.

2. This was not a overnight success story. He's toured overseas, and the gospel of Hussle has reached as far as Japan. But all true Nipsey Hussle fans know this process took time and dedication. Consistency is the key to his success; his "Marathon" mixtape series is a fan favorite and was key in helping him develop the fanbase he currently has. There were a few MCs from his introductory class that have come and gone, but Nipsey's grind has been relentlessly innovative and the quality of his music has consistently increased. His production is unpredictable, and his flow often offers so much real talk it's hard to forget.

1. He's a marketing genius. His recent mixtape, Crenshaw, was stocked on shelves and priced at $100. Only 1,000 first-edition copies were available for purchase. The $100 price tag also came with a free concert ticket.

In his hometown, people were camped outside of the retail stores, sleeping overnight. Limited copies of the LP eventually sold out. Jay-Z allegedly paid $10,000 for 100 copies. On Hussle's Instagram he posted a picture of a wire transfer from "S. Carter Enterprises." On October 9 a photo of 100 copies of "Crenshaw" was posted on Hov's Life + Times website. So, if true, Nipsey got $10,000 from Jay-Z AND all of that free publicity -- a true baller move indeed.

Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis city. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 21 and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.

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